Microsoft Office update brings simplified design, better search

Office 2019 Mac

Inspired by a new culture of work, the changes are created to meet the demands of customers who tell Microsoft they love the power that Office apps deliver but would prefer a simplified user experience. Microsoft is overhauling the interfaces of all the Office versions to bring a much more consistent look and feel across the various platforms that the applications support. Users who tend to work more on their own or prefer to have most of the commands at their fingertips will still be able to expand the ribbon to the familiar three-line view. In July, Microsoft will also make this new Ribbon design available in Outlook for Windows.

The updates apply to Office.com and Office 365 and will be rolled out over the next few months, the company says it will "test and learn" as it goes - those of a cynical mind might see that as code for letting users find the bugs.

"Users have a lot of "muscle memory" built around these versions, so we plan on being especially careful with changes that could disrupt their work", stated Spataro. Like the simplified ribbon, the new colors and icons will first appear in the web version of Word. It can now bring up recommendations powered as soon as you place the cursor in the box, based on what its AI and the Microsoft Graph knows about your habits.

Search will become more prominent with Microsoft saying it "will become a much more important element of the user experience, providing access to commands, content, and people". The icons should look colorful and crisp on any screen size.

Office 2019 PP for Mac
Microsoft Announces Office 2019 Commercial Preview for Mac Users

The new Ribbon will have just one row of icons, which were redesigned to be scalable not only for a sharper, more modern appearance, but also help with accessibility.

Word for Office.com will be the first app to feature the new colors and icons, followed by Word, Excel and PowerPoint for Windows sometime in June for some Office Insiders and Outlook for Windows users in July. Following on from the initial business preview of Office 2019 for Windows in April, the company has now announced that Office 2019 will be available as a preview for Mac machines with immediate effect.

Microsoft isn't the only technology giant that has been brushing up the interfaces of some of its most popular products. This functionality is already present in the Outlook mobile app, Office.com, and SharePoint Online.


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